Three abortion clinics have now permanently closed in Texas, the latest sign of the effects of the state’s new abortion mandates.
Whole Women’s Health, a plaintiff in the lawsuit challenging a sweeping package of abortion restriction passed by the Legislature last summer, has closed its clinics in McAllen and Beaumont, company CEO Amy Hagstrom Miller said Wednesday on MSNBC.
“It may have taken me a little too long to accept it … because the need is still here,” she said. “That’s what’s so heartbreaking.”
A Harlingen clinic also closed late last month, meaning that the state’s Rio Grande Valley no longer has any abortion providers. Texas is down to just 19 abortion clinics, a dramatic difference from 2011, when there were 44 facilities that offered abortion care.
New restrictions on abortion providers went into effect at the beginning of November. Abortion doctors are now required to obtain admitting privileges from a local hospital within 30 miles of their clinic, and, starting this September, abortion clinics will be required to bring their facilities in line with ambulatory surgical centers—which typically involves making expensive renovations.
Currently, just six abortion clinics in the state meet the standards to qualify as an ambulatory surgical center.
The closures come on the heels of the first suspension under the new laws, a Houston physician who was performing abortions without receiving admitting privileges to a nearby hospital. According to the medical board, Dr. Theodore Herring performed 268 abortions between Nov. 6 and Feb. 7 without first obtaining hospital admitting privileges within 30 miles of an abortion facility.
And if this week’s Texas primary results are any indication, the abortion climate in the state isn’t likely to change.
Republicans who touted their pro-life credentials—even when the offices they sought had little to do with the issue—often came out on top Tuesday, the Texas Tribune reports. Candidates who came out ahead in the comptroller, agriculture commissioner, and railroad commissioner races all earned endorsements from Texas Right to Life, one of the largest anti-abortion organizations in the state.
Whole Women’s Health Service held a vigil Thursday evening at the McAllen facility; the name of the event was “Justice Not Served.”